Maroon 5
Songs About Jane


4.5
superb

Review

by Brendan Schroer USER (132 Reviews)
February 4th, 2019 | 77 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A bittersweet reminder of a distant, more promising past

“Girls Like You” has a decent shot at being the worst song of the entire 2010s. It’s the sound of a band completely giving up at any chance of credibility. It’s the sound of Adam Levine finally dwarfing the rest of the band entirely, which I suppose was a long time coming by this point. But more tragically, it’s the sound of a band who simply has nothing to offer anymore. There’s no energy or personality, something I couldn’t say for even some of the most popular hits to date by the band. It’s just a limp-dicked ballad that relies on Cardi B’s feature to carry it, and it’s likely to be gone from the popular consciousness at large in a few years’ time. But, as many people have stated, the band weren’t always this way. So join me as I add yet another layer on top of this “hey, remember when Maroon 5 was actually good?” pile that seems to get larger and larger every year.

Except, let’s go a bit further than that. In fact, Songs About Jane is actually one of my favorite pop and alternative rock albums of the 2000s so far. The infectious melodies, the funky guitar lines, Levine’s soulful wails and entertaining histrionics, the rock-solid rhythm section, and most importantly, the impeccably tight songwriting… everything’s in place for a modern classic, as far as I’m concerned. But let’s be honest with ourselves here and admit that this version of the band isn’t all that different from the Maroon 5 we know today. Yes, there’s more rock. Yes, the music sounds more passionately put together. Yes. Levine plays some guitar solos. But this is a pop rock record through and through, and that’s the exact same umbrella their newer material falls under. In fact, if you want something really different from the band’s current output, listen to the band’s previous incarnation Kara’s Flowers who - I shit you not - put out a grunge album in the mid-90s. So, I’ve established that Songs About Jane is at least comparable to the band’s new work; what makes it different? A few things.

The first thing is that Songs About Jane is an egalitarian effort. Maroon 5 wasn’t always the “Adam Levine Show,” and it really shows here. The other members, especially keyboardist Jesse Carmichael and guitarist James Valentine get a lot more of the spotlight here to show their chops. I don’t think songs like “Sunday Morning” or “The Sun” would be nearly as great as they are without Carmichael’s unique blend of rock, blues, and jazz complimenting their laid-back grooves. Likewise, the mega-hit “This Love” pretty much lives and dies by the way his bouncy piano chords and Valentine’s funky guitar playing interact and blend together. This is in sharp contrast to the band’s last few albums, in which they might has well not have been credited with any of the instrumental performances at all. The other members - bassist Mickey Madden and former drummer Ryan Dusick - aren’t quite as memorable, but they at least get the job done and add enough personality to stand out once in a while. I have to admit, I was pretty surprised when I first heard that badass drum fill at the beginning of “Harder to Breathe.”

But let’s get down to the most important thing: the fact that Adam Levine actually gave a shit during this era. He and Jesse Carmichael are the main songwriters on Songs About Jane, and their collaborative efforts have led to many of the best pop songs of this century thus far. “Harder to Breathe” is a strikingly intense, hard-hitting number that combines the drama of relationship troubles with a heavy guitar riff that Valentine cranks out with razor-like precision. “This Love” swings effortlessly between melancholic verses and soaring choruses as Adam Levine laments the tolls of love and sexual tension with tact and grace. And of course, do I need to even bring up “Sunday Morning?” The song has become legendary - even among people who don’t normally listen to the band - for its lovely mixture of blue-eyed soul and jazz fusion, as well as some of the most positive vibes on the album. Or perhaps you want to enjoy some deep cuts? This album has you covered there too; check out the subtle ebbs and flows of the eerie ballad “Secret”; or you can listen to the strange blend of funk and Middle-Eastern vibes that “Shiver” brings out; finally, there’s the hard rock of “Through With You,” which follows up the sound of the opener with more fantastic alt-rock riffage courtesy of James Valentine.

Perhaps my points about Songs About Jane are like preaching in an echo chamber, but everytime Maroon 5 releases a new pointless, boring piece of shit, I always feel it necessary to reiterate just how good they once were when they tried. In any case, I feel safe in regarding this as an absolute classic of both pop and modern rock music; it’s such a solid release, and - as quite a rarity in pop music - there’s not really a song that can be considered a “filler track,” perhaps save for the weird live track near the end. If you meet anyone who dislikes Maroon 5’s new material but hasn’t heard their other stuff, show them Songs About Jane and The Fourth World and let them know what they’ve been missing out on.



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user ratings (918)
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
DivergentThinking
February 4th 2019


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I actually decided to write this one on a whim... I was listening to the album again recently and reflecting on the "good ol' days," lol. Anyway, this album rules

veninblazer
February 4th 2019


10089 Comments


Good review, might revisit this and IWBSBL soon. Sad to see how far these guys have fallen.

BallsToTheWall
February 4th 2019


49745 Comments


Fuck this band for ruining the half time show.

Digging: Eremit - Carrier of Weight

hansoloshotfirst
February 4th 2019


1417 Comments


Fuck this band [666]

SowingSeason
Moderator
February 4th 2019


32092 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Fuck this band

Digging: Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell

BallsToTheWall
February 4th 2019


49745 Comments


So hard.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
February 4th 2019


16651 Comments


lol my coworkers are watching the show and while I was reading this thread someone next to me said "Fuck this band" hahaha

Digging: Kayo Dot - Blasphemy

DivergentThinking
February 4th 2019


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

fuck this band [888]

BallsToTheWall
February 4th 2019


49745 Comments


A historically bad super bowl showing.

DivergentThinking
February 4th 2019


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Was anyone really surprised that Maroon 5 was gonna suck at the Superbowl though?

DivergentThinking
February 4th 2019


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm pretty sure all the band members have been replaced by Chuck E. Cheese animatronics by now

YakNips
February 4th 2019


19860 Comments


suck this gland

BallsToTheWall
February 4th 2019


49745 Comments


I wasn’t but it exceeded expectations.

StrikeOfTheBeast
February 4th 2019


8382 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album rules. \m/

Son of Mr. Pain
February 4th 2019


24856 Comments


Album had some pop ass jams, but they went to shit immediately after this.

rodrigo90
February 4th 2019


5655 Comments


YAY, I remember girls of a school class in college, doing a coreography of this love. I didn't regret watching them at all.

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
February 4th 2019


10697 Comments


Lol, oh fuck. I forgot Adam and the Levines were playing the Superbowl. Hell, I forgot about the Superbowl completely. Does this mean Maroon 5 is dad rock now?

Dylan620
February 4th 2019


4989 Comments


Band this fuck

Digging: Destroyer - Streethawk: A Seduction

BallsToTheWall
February 4th 2019


49745 Comments


This band fucks.

Son of Mr. Pain
February 4th 2019


24856 Comments


They’re surely getting laid tonight, so yeah



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